Routing Features and Performance
Figure 6: N+ Status Page
The N+ doesn't bring anything new to Belkin's routing feature set. Here's the quick rundown of the routing feature set:
- DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, Telstra BigPond and Multi-PPPoE WAN types
- Built-in Dynamic DNS client for DynDNS
- WAN ping blocking (default enabled)
- Single port and Port Range forwarding
- Simple schedulable outbound port filtering
- Remote management enable with single IP restriction and port setting
- System and firewall logging
- UPnP (default enabled)
- MAC address access control for wired clients
Missing are useful things like:
- Firewall controls like SPI disable and Proxy, Java, ActiveX and Cookie blocking
- IPsec, PPTP and L2TP VPN passthrough enable/disables
- Triggered port forwarding
- DHCP reservations
- HTTPS admin access
- Bandwidth control / QoS for Internet traffic
- Parental controls
- Syslog support and traffic logging
Not much else to say, other than I'd like to see Belkin add some of the features from the "missing item" list some day.
Updated 11/11/2008: MacOS version of Storage Manager is available.
The Plus joins the Linksys WRT350N and WRT610N as one of the few draft 11n routers to support network sharing of a USB flash or hard drive. In the Plus' case, however, the feature is very basic; so basic that you won't find any controls for it in the Plus' admin pages.
All you do is plug a FAT, FAT32 or NTFS formatted USB flash or hard drive into the Plus' single USB port. (You actually can plug in a USB hub and share up to four drives, being careful not to draw more than 500 mA of juice from the Plus' USB port.)
To access the share, you either install the Storage Manager tray application (Windows and MacOS versions come on the dual-mode CD), which just automatically creates a mapped drive. Or you can open a Run box and enter \\192.168.2.1 to access the share.
As with the Linksys routers, the Plus' file sharing is pretty slow, with read and non-cached writes measuring around 2 MB/s, even with a gigabit Ethernet client. I'll note that the Storage light on the Plus' front panel is the only light that flashes to indicate activity!
I tested routing performance using our standard router tests. All tests were done with the client in DMZ to accomodate IxChariot's finickyness with SPI+NAT firewalls. The results are summarized in Table 1 below.
|WAN - LAN||
|LAN - WAN||
|Maximum Simultaneous Connections||200||128|
Table 1: Routing performance summary
I added the routing throughput numbers for the N for comparison, and there certainly is a difference! With a total simultaneous throughput of 129 Mbps, the N+ is 60% faster than the N and also maxed out our 200 connection limit on the Maximum Simultaneous Connection test.
Figure 6 shows a composite of WAN to LAN, LAN to WAN and simultaneous up/down IxChariot routing throughput tests. Throughput is generally well-behaved, except for the occasional dropouts and spikes.